Saul Bass’s Phase lV is an underrated sci-fi film that has in recent years started to gain a richly deserved cult following. It was released on DVD in 2008 and has subsequently been discovered by fans of cinematic psychedelia. There are segments of Phase lV that are genuinely trippy and have influenced latter day head films like the newly released Beyond The Black Rainbow. Considered by some to be the greatest movie about killer insects ever made (a small but pesky genre), I would add that it is one of the most beautifully photographed films, of any genre, ever made.
Bass is famous for his iconic credit sequences in many of Hitchcock’s films, among others, and for his striking movie posters. Phase lV was his one and only directorial effort and died a quick death at the box office in 1974. But it is a film that, despite some amateurish elements, has a significant wow factor. Ken Middleham’s (The Hellstrom Chronicle) cinematography is absolutely stunning and there are moments in the film that are truly visionary.
Here’s Phase lV in its entirety. I suggest to fully appreciate the film, you pick up the DVD. There are new copies selling for less than $5.
If you’re in the L.A. area, you should get your ass over to Cinefamily this Sunday (the 24th) to see a rare screening of a 35mm print of Phase lV. According to a reliable source, Cinefamily will have a surprise for the folks who attend the screening that will make the event an absolute must-see for film lovers and fans of Saul Bass. Trust me, it will be a historic night for movie freaks.